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Informal institutions matter: professional culture and the development of biogas technology
Eawag – Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Duebendorf, Switzerland.
(Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland)
(Eawag – Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Duebendorf, Switzerland)
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3945-0183
2013 (English)In: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, ISSN 2210-4224, EISSN 2210-4232, Vol. 8, 20-41 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Institutions play a crucial role for the development and diffusion of novel technologies. Many studies have analyzed the role of formal institutions such as support policies or specific R&D programs, while informal institutions have received less attention. With this paper, we contribute to the institutional analysis of emerging technological fields as we examine how the effects of formal institutions depend on informal institutional structures. We present findings from a comparative study of biogas technology in selected Austrian regions. Our findings suggest that the professional culture in which farmers are embedded modulates the effects of feed-in tariffs and investment subsidies to a considerable extent. This explains regional differences in the diffusion as well as variations in the design and operation of biogas plants. We argue that studies on emerging technologies benefit from a systematic analysis of the interplay of regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutions. We also argue that socio-technical variation is an important indicator to look at in addition to diffusion rates.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 8, 20-41 p.
Keyword [en]
Biogas; Diffusion; Informal institutions; Institutional effects; Renewable energy sources; Technological innovation system
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105376DOI: 10.1016/j.eist.2013.06.002OAI: diva2:706341
Available from: 2014-03-19 Created: 2014-03-19 Last updated: 2015-03-05Bibliographically approved

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Rohracher, Harald
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